Friday, February 26, 2021

Strange Argument

Senate Minority Whip John Thune on Wednesday explained his reasoning for opposing a major minimum wage hike and stated

And I can tell you, as somebody like Senator Scott who was growing up in a small town, I worked for less than the minimum wage. I worked for the minimum wage. I started busing tables at a dollar an hour. I went up to $2.25 when they moved me up in the place and I finally made it up to cook, which was big-time. That was six bucks an hour.

Thune apparently worked at Star Family Restaurant, a diner-like eatery in Murdo, South Dakota.  (The service is praised but it closes early, so go for breakfast or lunch.)  He evidently worked there in the 1970s because he graduated high school in South Dakota in 1979, then went to college in California.

The senator stated that he was paid $6.00 per hour, which is meant to sound as if he had a humble beginning earning wages which pale in comparison to the $15 per hour Democrats are seeking in the coronavirus stimulus package.

Let's assume for a moment that Thune's hourly wage was $6.00 an hour as late as 1979, which would be a less generous wage than if, for example, he was referring to 1975 or 1976.  The $6.00 in 1979 is worth $23.08 in 2021.

Senator Thune thus has made the argument that $23.08 is today a modest wage. It is, if his words mean anything, one fitting for a chef without a formal education in the culinary arts and working in a small town in a state with a relatively low cost of living. 

That's $5.08 more than congressional Democrats are pursuing, and which virtually every Republican is opposing.  But that's not surprising because Thune gave it away when he claimed "the minimum wage is something that is particularly troubling and harmful at a time when you're trying to get people back to work and trying to create jobs again."   

Thune therein did not blast an increase in the minimum wage but the minimum wage itself. Now that is particularly troubling.

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